E-Seminar: Betty Stewart, Orientalism and Oriental Cavalcade: Entertainment public relations in late 1950s Australia

Wednesday May 27, 4pm - 5pm AEST

Presenter:  Dr Kate Fitch, School of Media Film and Journalism, Monash University

This paper offers new insights into the historical development of public relations in Australia in its focus on a female practitioner, who has been largely excluded from public relations history. Much of Betty Stewart’s 60-year career was spent in entertainment public relations and this paper explores her first campaign as a consultant, promoting a vaudeville theatre show, Oriental Cavalcade, in the second half of 1959. The paper explores the promotional strategy, which focused on ‘exotic Asia’, the day-to-day work of entertainment public relations, and the exclusion of both women’s histories and entertainment public relations from twentieth-century public relations history.

Dr Kate Fitch researches public relations using critical and sociocultural approaches. She has published on gender and public relations in history and in contemporary culture. Her first book, Professionalizing Public Relations: History, Gender and Education (Fitch, 2016) investigates the history of public relations in Australia and was published by PalgraveHer forthcoming book, Popular Culture and Social Change: The Hidden Work of Public Relations, (Fitch & Motion, in press) will be published later this year by Routledge.'